Geo-Marine Letters

, Volume 29, Issue 5, pp 321–330 | Cite as

Long-term influence of maritime access works on the distribution of cohesive sediments: analysis of historical and recent data from the Belgian nearshore area (southern North Sea)

  • Michael FettweisEmail author
  • Jean-Sébastien Houziaux
  • Isabelle Du Four
  • Vera Van Lancker
  • Cecile Baeteman
  • Mieke Mathys
  • Dries Van den Eynde
  • Frederic Francken
  • Stanislas Wartel


Long-term changes in the cohesive sediment distribution of the Belgian—Dutch nearshore zone (southern North Sea) are related to human activities (port construction, deepening of navigation channels, disposal of dredged sediments) and to natural variability, due to tides and meteorological effects. Results are based on the combined analyses of recent and historic (100 years ago) sediment sample information and bathymetric maps. Data processing was based mainly on field descriptions of the samples (consolidation, thickness) and on bathymetric maps of 1866–1911. Results indicate that the distribution of fresh mud and suspended sediment has changed during the last 100 years, due mainly to maritime access works. Most of the present deposition of thick layers of fresh mud (>30 cm) has anthropogenic causes. The results further indicate that erosion of older Holocene mud has increased in recent times and, as a consequence, higher amounts of fine-grained sediments are being released into the southern North Sea today.


Suspended Particulate Matter Suspended Particulate Matter Concentration Cohesive Sediment Nearshore Area Navigation Channel 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Fettweis
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jean-Sébastien Houziaux
    • 2
  • Isabelle Du Four
    • 3
  • Vera Van Lancker
    • 3
    • 5
  • Cecile Baeteman
    • 4
  • Mieke Mathys
    • 3
  • Dries Van den Eynde
    • 1
  • Frederic Francken
    • 1
  • Stanislas Wartel
    • 1
  1. 1.Royal Belgian Institute for Natural Science (RBINS)Management Unit of the North Sea Mathematical Models (MUMM)BrusselsBelgium
  2. 2.Royal Belgian Institute for Natural Science (RBINS)Invertebrates DepartmentBrusselsBelgium
  3. 3.Renard Centre of Marine Geology (RCMG)Ghent UniversityGhentBelgium
  4. 4.Royal Belgian Institute for Natural Science (RBINS)Geological Survey of BelgiumBrusselsBelgium
  5. 5.Royal Belgian Institute for Natural Science (RBINS)Management Unit of the North Sea Mathematical Models (MUMM)BrusselsBelgium

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